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  1. The other day (more like a few weeks ago,) I was sitting at a Cards and Games shop with both my boys while the oldest tutored the youngest in Algebra. (I’m sure you can imagine the bribery involved. But a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do ;)) During a brief moment when Trevor was actually working independently, Andrew and I were chatting about everyday things and— I can’t remember why but— he asked if I still keep up with my WLS blog. I was immediately filled with the familiar guilt I am flooded with each time I think about my blog. I LOVE my blog! And I LOVE the connection it gives me to my friends in the WLS community. But, as you know, I just can’t seem to keep up with it since getting sick a couple (plus) years ago.

    I exclaimed to Andrew, “I want to! I swear! I think about it all the time! BUT…” I paused, feeling disproportionately emotional about such a simple, casual, unexpected question and thinking of how to explain what has been increasingly on my mind lately. There must have been a lot of emotion in my voice because Andrew stopped all his fidgeting and card sorting and looked up at me— I mean, prolonged eye contact. I continued, “I STILL think about blogging all the time. Everything I do is still relevant. I am always thinking of how I would write one experience or another. I compose them in my head constantly. I even START to write a lot of them down, BUT…”

    Another pause. Another wave of emotion. And even more uninterrupted eye contact from my son. I swear, I must have seemed like a hot mess because he looked so concerned and so… interested. I was hesitant to continue, thinking maybe I shouldn’t burden my son with my “issues.” The past few years have been pretty tough and I have done my best to minimize its effect on my family. Especially Andrew, since he has his own family now. But he is grown— almost 24 years old, married, a new homeowner, management at a major corporation, and expecting a baby (that’s SUPER exciting!) And he did look pretty grown up there with his computer and graph paper, overseeing his little brother’s math and looking at me expectantly. I mean, if you pretend not to notice the Pokemon cards spread out on the table :P.

    I decided to continue. This subject has certainly been on my mind A LOT lately and it seemed it was time to work it out. “It’s just that… I know that it’s important to post about my experiences. Not only for people who may need the information, but for ME to be able to process things and give and receive support. Especially since I have gotten sick…”

    Pause and regroup. And he is STILL with me! “When I started this process, I promised to share honestly and openly and not hold anything back. When I was successful but struggling with “minor” but normal complications, it was easy to do. But, now that I have gotten sick…”

    Deep breath. And he’s STILL listening. “When I don’t feel well, I don’t want to post about it because I just feel like such a whiner. And when I DO feel well… when I can actually DO things…”

    I couldn’t figure out what to say next. How to describe it. In hindsight, I can say I am not good with vulnerability. Duh. But I also HATE to feel selfish, much less admit to it;) So you can imagine my relief when Andrew finished my sentence, “You don’t want to spend THAT time blogging about stuff instead of DOING stuff.”

    “EXACTLY!” I exclaimed. End of conversation. It’s great to have boys. Especially when they grow up so nicely.

    Of course, that wasn’t the end of my thoughts on the subject. A few weeks have passed and, as usual, I have thought about my blog a lot. And, I have been DOING a lot. In general, over the past year, I seem to spend less and less time feeling sick and whiney and more and more time participating in real life (relatively speaking, of course.) That’s a VERY good thing! And as I think honestly about my whole WLS experience and my blog, I realize a few other reasons I tend to avoid posting—

    1. I don’t want to scare people. My early experience was terrific but, despite actually appreciating my severe dumping complications and learning to work successfully with them, many people seemed to be more than a little freaked out by them. So, even though I fully believe in the value of knowing ALL the possibilities in order to assess the risks and rewards of such a potentially life-changing decision as WLS, I would really hate for my experience with THESE rare, dramatic, life-threatening complications to frighten folks away from the prospective benefits of the surgery.

    1. Like I said, I don’t like to feel vulnerable. If you have read my blog beginning way back in 2011, you realize I seem to have no trouble sharing my vulnerable moments. But, that would be after the fact. Or, even as I work through something but am almost certain that I WILL be able to work through it. But, this condition has placed me in a perpetual and uncomfortable state of vulnerability and my confidence in my ability to work through it comes and goes. I don’t like that. LOL. Understatement.

    1. I feel like a failure and a fraud. I know it’s not my fault that my body reacted so drastically to the surgery. And I KNOW I have a vast amount of experience to share (Heck, even if it WAS my fault, sharing the experience would be valuable) but I feel like I don’t quite have the right anymore. Sure, I live the very restricted life of someone who has had gastric bypass, BUT I have also technically failed and had the surgery reversed. Can I really offer support and advice to other WLS patients? I know… wah, wah, wah. Did I mention I hate to feel vulnerable? Oh, and I hate to fail. I hate to be weak. And I really hate for anyone to feel sorry for me. So, I don’t enjoy sharing this aspect of my journey. See? I feel guilty even putting this on (virtual) paper.

    1. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (shocker!) So every time I feel like adding a new entry to my blog, I feel like I also need to “catch up.” I want to tell everything that has happened since I last blogged. And that often feels incredibly overwhelming so I just don’t post. Lame, I know;)

    So, in the past few weeks, I have done a lot of thinking and sorting this issue in my mind. I have had a few events and conversations that have kind of pushed me to sort through this little blogging block I have had. And I have decided I need to quit letting all these darn excuses get in the way of blogging my WLS journey.

    My blog was instrumental in my success the first couple of years after WLS and I am sure it has been helpful to others as they decided to embark on their journeys or as they went through similar steps. It has acted as a sort of therapy as I dealt with issues common to WLS patients and allowed me to connect with others and gain friendship and support that I really needed. I still need all that. The WLS community is important for success and you guys are important to me. I am so lucky to have made so many good friends and I KNOW I can count on you for support when I need it. And I love to provide support when I can. So I can’t keep waiting until I feel stronger or until I “catch up.” I am just jumping in… again.

    I know you have heard it before… But I’m not going to worry about whether I “fail” to keep blogging or whether I will be uncomfortable sharing in the future. I am just going to blog today and INTEND to keep doing it. Who knows, one day it may stick and I will be effortlessly blogging again… regularly!

  2. Today 5 years ago I had my bypass and it was the best choice I made. Were there ups and downs? Yes but I have no regrets. I was 300 lbs and now 180. I got as low as 150 which was a healthy weight but looked sickly on me. Where I am now, I am happy. I feel and look good. My high blood pressure is no longer an issue. And my fear of getting diabetes has been pushed aside. Tomorrow is my workout day and I am looking forward to going there and staying as fit as I can. 

     

  3. Oh, we've all been to those wretched team building outings....playing "get to know you" bonding games with the mean girls in the next office or the jocks in the next cubicle. Undoubtedly, you were asked to complete ropes courses blindfolded or lift one of your coworkers using one finger each. (Complete nightmare scenarios!!)

    But, there's a part of those team-building sessions that simply intrigues me...the part where, by some sort of interactive questioning, you find out How much you have in common with others. 

    Last night, my best friend (that grew up across the country from this army brat) revealed to me that, as a child, she would also stick the Chiquita banana sticker to her forehead, between her eyebrows, where it belongs. I was stunned, thinking that me and my sisters were the only weirdos that fought over that darn sticker, the winner triumphantly strutting out of the grocery store ahead of the tearful runners up.

    Then it dawned on me.....what if my weirdness isn't actual weirdness. What is my strange behavior is actually widespread. So, friends, let's play a game....be sure to copy and paste your answers, so we can all see how we common our "odd" WLS behavior is:

    (answer yes or no....and feel free to add your own peculariarities to your answer list)

    1. Have you ever stood in the mirror, sideways, and tried like heck to pull your stomach behind you, so you'll see what you eventually look like??

    2. Have you ever sucked in your cheeks and stretched your face toward your ears on both sides, trying to see what your thinner face will look like?

    3. Have you ever worried that the loose skin under your chin will someday look like a V? (Mostly because that's what happened to the character Fat B****** on Austin Powers---still can't get that line out of my head)

    4.  Have you ever played  the "Honey, am I her size?" game with your significant other or basically anyone else that will play with you?

    5. Have you ever weighed yourself before AND after going #2, to see if it makes you lose a little more that day?? 

    6. Have you ever tried on a garment of your child or much-smaller spouse just to see if it would zip?

    7. Have you ever celebrated because the weight you gave to the DMV to put on your driver's license is no longer a lie?? (Still my favorite NSV)

    8. Have you ever played with a BMI calculator to see exactly how many pounds you'd have to lose in order to be considered "underweight" if for only a moment?? (Okay, maybe this one is just me...)

    9. Have you ever wanted to buy a plane ticket just because you no longer need the seat belt extensions?

    10. Have you ever had people take naked pix of you, just so you could see exactly what you look like from every angle, now? (And then frantically erase them while making the photographer swear to have a spontaneous bout of amnesia)

     

    Needless to say, my YES score is 10/10. But, I'm willing to bet that my odd WLS behavior isn't so very different from many of yours. And, for those of you whose WLS oddities have not yet manifested and are currently giggling at the thought of weighing yourself after using the potty, just wait....some day, you'll remember this blog as you stand on a step-stool, manipulating your shrinking tummy in the mirror to see your future self...

     

  4. sweetnsassy
    Latest Entry

    Ugh, I am soooo in the diet dog-house! The last few days I kinda went off the reservation, food wise. I am avoiding the scale (I know it's bad, why torture myself?) till I have a few days of clean eating back under my belt.

    So what happened?

    Stress. I still am not handling stress the way I should. I mean, I have been doing pretty damn good, but Thursday I lost it.

    -I am about 7wks out from my divorce being final, living with my husband, that's a nightmare in and of itself

    -I am trying to find a job - have one offer but its 1 day a week...yeah, I need to find more, I have several applications in, but its still in the air

    -I will need to be moving. But where to will depend on the job, so again, I can't nail that down yet. I have to move, but I can't find a place yet.

    -I will probably end up moving my kids to a new school. Yippie, cause I didn't have enough mommy-guilt already *sigh*

    -I will have to find some kind of reliable and safe childcare for my 3 kids, and you can bet my ex wont lift a finger to be helpful.

    -My best friend had a very large and fast growing cancerous tumor removed on Thursday. Her husbands first wife died of cancer. Now she has it. Nuff said.

    -My other close girlfriends Mom is dying, plus her grandbaby twins were born at like 21 weeks and are critical. She has called sobbing, and I can't blame her at all. So I have been trying to be strong for her, not wanting to "dump" my life on her.

    -Oh, and I have had my IUD in for a few weeks now, and I know I was PMS-ing this week. My body/hormones are all jacked up, im breaking out, cramping, etc, its going to take a while for this to level out.

    But I have no close family here. And like I said, my close friends are neck deep in their own life crisis's right now. So I am stressed the hells-bells out. I have another friend, and they actually told me that I have been "kind of clingly the last few days", and honestly, if I could have smacked them over the phone I would have. Clingy? My life is a freaking disaster, I am trying to hang on and make this work, so excuse the hell out of me if I reached out to you. Don't tell me "that's what friends are for" on one hand, and then in the middle of this life-$hit storm tell me that I am being clingy. I just needed someone to listen and care, is that so freaking hard?

    So, I did myself a favor and ate too much. Smart, I know.

    Today is back to Atkins phase one. Tomorrow is back to shakes and 1 meal.

    I'm not giving up. That's not even an option. I'm just tired. Worn down emotionally and mentally. I guess I get butt-hurt and frustrated because I feel like I am there for so many people in my life, but when things go to hell in a hand basket, who is there for me? It feels an awful lot like NO ONE! (In my "real" life) Welcome to my pity-party, BYOW (water, kids, no booze).

  5. So ..... as everyone knows I had gastric bypass on November 1, 2012. I have surgery scheduled for excess skin removal (26.3 pounds) on September 8, 2014. I am well past my goal weight and have been for quite some time now. I received a letter over the weekend that my insurance had elected NOT to cover this surgery since they deemed it cosmetic. You have NO idea how uncosmetic it is. That being said, I have less than 7 weeks to raise 11,000.00. I am asking EVERYONE I know to donate $2.00, 5.00, 10.00, whatever they can to help. If there is money left over I will give it to someone on this page that is in the same situation that I am and needs to do this but insurance thinks it's cosmetic OR someone that wants WLS and can't do it because of insurance. If anyone here shows any interest at all in helping, I will post my paypal information. If not, that's fine I completely understand that money is tight for everyone. This may NOT be the most appropriate place to post this but I'm going everywhere I can think of.

  6. lIfe is about choices. Cooking certainly doesn't have to be expensive - I grew up in a large family and we cooked everything. And if you are purchasing lots of fruit you must be aware of that as well. Go to aldis and stock yup n raw produce.

    Slice up a zucchini red yellow pepper, mushrooms and an onion.

    Spray with cooking spray and liberally dust with salt pepper steak seasoning and stir to coat.

    Putin 425 oven stirring frequently till desired doneness.

    You now have the base for aq variety of protein dishes ready to go.

    No pretzels allowed

    Source: 2 years out soon, never hit goal weight

  7. I had my six week follow up yesterday and everything went great. I had weighed in at 324 at home that morning so I was a little bummed that I was so close to 100 lbs down but was only 99. I thought it would've been neato to be 100 down for my 6 week (including 6 month preop diet)! Well I hopped on the surgeon's scale... the same one that weighed me in at 423 back in June and lo and behold: 322lbs!!! I was ecstatic because it was so unexpected! I am so thrilled to have hit my first big milestone. My next goal is to get under 300. I was hoping to get there by my birthday on April 2nd, but that's looking unlikely at best. It's not a race, I know. It's just something to strive for. Keeps me from getting complacent.

    So the appointment was uneventful... she said good job, keep it up, see you in 6 more weeks! I was happy my blood pressure was 116/72. That was my normal for a long time, but the past year it had started creeping up above 120/80 just a smidge. Problem: REVERSED! I can't WAIT to see what my 3 month labs say! My blood sugar and cholesterol better kick some butt too :)

    This journey is amazing. I'm changing so much physically and mentally and emotionally. I feel so blessed! I'm currently deciding what my getting under 300lbs gift to myself will be: a bike or rollerskates? A bike will get more use probably so now: a cruiser or a mountain bike? Any suggestions? I need to keep it under 100 and saw a few at Walmart for $89 but don't know what the weight limits are... they're not posted with the bike info tickets. I guess that's where to start!

    I have this vision of me riding my cruiser through town and to the beach this summer, wearing a sundress, honking my bike horn, with some books and a towel in my basket. Quite different from the vision I had of myself laying in bed waiting to die or be cut out of my house a year ago. That's where things were headed. Thank God for this life saving and life changing surgery!

  8. jilliebeanmn
    Latest Entry

    I've slacked off. I admitted that in my last post---then did nothing about it. Well, it's time to re-focus. I've not gained any weight, but I haven't lost anything either, and I REALLY want to get to goal.

    So, I am re-focusing again.

    I am going to start tracking my food again and get back in the gym. Starting today! I got a fitbit flex to help me get accountable to myself again.

    I can do this!

  9. Kayla
    Latest Entry

    This Saturday I am running in my first 5k. Me. I can hardly believe it. A year ago I was on the couch miserable at 259 in z size 24 at 5 foot 2. This summer I am running in a 5k in size 9 running shorts at 155. I have been through a lot of changes this year and have had a few great off the scale victories but this one I am the most proud of.

  10. Yesterday, I competed in my first powerlifting meet -- a push (bench press) pull (deadlift) competition here in Portland, Oregon. I have been working out with a personal trainer for about a year now, but decided to compete after watching a meet here in PDX in mid-January.

    Me with my trainer between the bench press and deadlift attempts.

    blogentry-31818-0-46169700-1426442424_th

    My results were:

    - 2 of 3 good lifts on bench, hit my PR of 115

    - 3 of 3 good lifts on deadlift, set a new PR of 131

    - won my weight/age class for deadlift (I was the only one in it :))

    - set a world record in my weight/age class for push/pull (combined deadlift + bench) -- this is a new class in this federation and I think I'm the first one in my weight/age class to compete in it :)

    The bench press is the first event and I feel it is my weaker lift. I was really nervous going into this -- I hadn't lifted all week (per the advice I've read online). I was afraid I couldn't even lift my opener (99 pounds). Once I started warming up, I felt much better. 100 pounds felt like nothing. I hit my opener with no problems. I decided to go up to my PR (personal record) of 115 for my second lift. They help you get the bar off the rack and you hold it up and then lower it to your chest. Once it is stationary on your chest, the judge says "bench" and you push it up. Then, you have to wait for the judge to say "rack" to rack the bar. I raced the judge on the rack command, but they gave it to me :) and so that counted. For my third lift, I got ambitious and went up 5kg to 126 pounds. I tried and fought the good fight, but I could not press it. I am pretty sure I could have pressed 121 pounds.

    I feel much stronger in deadlift. I chose an opener I could easily hit -- 198 pounds -- and made it easily. For my second lift, I chose my PR -- 225 pounds and made it. Having learned from my bench press experience :), I chose to only increase 2.5kg for my last lift and made a new PR of 231 pounds.

    The awards ceremony went on almost longer than the competition :). There were a lot of lifters in a lot of categories. I was the only woman in the 54-60, 198 pound deadlift class, so I got first place. I was also the only woman, and I believe the first woman in this federation, to compete in the push-pull class, so not only did I get first place, I got a world record. For my two first places, I got two samuri swords. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them -- maybe display them over the fireplace? :) Someone made a snarky comment about getting a world record with only 346 pounds, but I didn't know I was going to get a record when I entered. I am excited to see how strong I can become, but mostly I am doing this to keep challenging myself. I love backpacking and skiing, but I can't do that every day. I can lift weights 3-4x/week and it is something that challenges me.

    I've been training with a personal trainer at my local "big box" gym. She's great and has definitely helped me a lot this past year, but she is not a powerlifter. There is some technique involved in powerlifting (especially in bench press and squat, which wasn't an event in this meet but will be in future meets). There's also a body of knowledge around "programming" -- how much you should lift and how many reps/sets -- to get stronger. I've contacted a couple of local power/weight-lifting gyms/coaches in the area to see if I can get some more specific coaching/training. The gym I work out at currently is very convenient -- it is 5 minutes from my job and about 15 minutes from my house -- but none of the trainers are powerlifters.

    For anyone that has read this far :) and is intrigued, I would encourage you to check out a powerlifting competition in your area. For the most part (except for that one snarky comment), it is a very supportive environment, especially for newbies. It is exciting to see people challenge themselves, especially (I think) the women and girls. There were girls as young as 12, women as old as 85-89, disabled (blind) women, small women (112 pounds), and large women (200+ pounds).

    Based on what I learned from my endocrinologist post-surgery, I wouldn't recommend heavy lifting until you are out of the "honeymoon" phase and have leveled off your weight. While he did want me doing resistance training daily or every other day to minimize the loss of lean body mass, he did not want me exercising heavily -- again to minimize the loss of LBM. For sure, you should not start lifting any weights post-surgery until you are cleared by your doctor.

    I named this blog "reclaiming my life" because I was hopeful I would be able to do things I had been able to do previously. But, I've done so much more post-surgery -- including this competition. I am so grateful for my health and what I've been able to do these past two years. None of us know how much time we have in life -- I hope to set records in the 95+ age category :) -- but I am so grateful for today and feel so blessed.

  11. Ever feel like you're purposely sabatoging yourself? In the past few days it's what I've felt like, like everything I put in my mouth is a horrible plan gone awry. Cupcake? Sure I'll take one. Toffee Peanuts? MY FAV! Then I even talk myself into the fact that I'm eating crap by reminding myself that Aunt Flo is visiting. As if that's a freaking reason! Part of the problem is lack of planning, part of the problem is I ran out of grocery money and thus ran out of the "good for me" things I normally eat and part of the problem is I feel like I fell off the wagon, though thankfully my pouch is quick to remind me there is no wagon anymore by making me miserable after a horrible choice. I also think that I'm "scared" to be this skinny. I looked at my hands today and felt like the skeleton was poking out of them. My stomach is suddenly much slimmer than I remember it being. The constant compliments from random co-workers that haven't seen me in months suddenly saying "oh you look great, have you lost weight?" and shining light on me. I feel like I'm completely in the spotlight and there's no way out of it. I think the biggest "scare" if you will, was an old flame suddenly being interested in me again because I'm thinner than I was when I was with him. Really. Like I'm interested, NOT! I'm married duh! But it's the attention that I'm getting, all of it good, none of it bad really, makes me want to just go back to hiding! I'm constantly looking for plain jane clothing that won't call attention to me as if that's going to make a difference. If anything my simple attire gets raves because by going simple in my dressing people seem to notice more? Heck I dunno. I've always been introverted in crowds or in situations in which my identity is known (online I'm the chatter box, go figure), so being thrust into this limelight doesn't sit well. Speaking in large crowds, no problem. I've been through plays and drama stuff so that's an old hat. I just don't think about it. But I feel, at least right now, like I'm always on stage as a main actress and the curtain isn't falling. Weird I know. But it's how I feel.

    So, why am I stuck so firmly in the 190's I ask myself. Well, stupid, I tell myself, because you're eating crap and not exercising! Duh!

    Even the best of us have bad days!

    So I've resolved myself to put a little on the "card" and get the foods *I* need to eat and stop worrying about whether then 16 year old in the house is going to like what I make or the hubby is going to eat what I make and worry about what *I* need to do to continue this weight loss. So more jerky for me and less sneaking carbs!!! >.< And I guess I'll need to get used to burning more gas going to the mall because it's about the only place in this 100 degree heat I'll be going to do my walking. Hopefully the rest will all fall in to place.

    I'm just posting this to be accountable. I feel if I don't post it, I don't see it therefore I don't acknowledge it.

    Thanks for listening.

  12. Nana60
    Latest Entry

    Well, I guess this is my new normal now. I'm 13 months past surgery and have been maintaining since about 8 months. I'm still doing well but I can feel the old habits wanting to sneak back in. This time I can stop them. I plan to do a 5 day pouch test and plan to probably do one every year. I think it is a good way to get the carb monster out of your system. I plan to start Thursday as I have to get some more protein drink. i'm a little scared because I'm pretty darn comfortable with everything right now.

    Today I went to a group class for my options plan and spoke to a group of people halfway to getting their surgery. I had a great time and of course it gets you all inspired again. It's like AA, you need to keep involved and helping others as it helps you too.

    I still weigh myself every other day or so as I want to keep on it. somehow it is just easier though. I stick to the important rules of not eating and drinking and no drinking for at least 45 minutes after eating. Also no soda EVER! That's easy enough. It was funny all the things people were worried about having to give up. I don't think I really got across the point that you won't really care after. The first few months you eat and drink so little, eating your "favorite" foods isn't really a thought.

    I feel so blessed and happy. did 2 days at Disney and sailed through it. I kept up with the grand kids. Actually my 9 year old grand daughter pooped out before me! I love it.

  13. Well we've made it to 19 weeks. Almost half way. I've been struggling to keep my weight consistent and not gain too much. With my hypoglycemia, I'm forced to eat more foods I would normally avoid, and eat far more often than I ever did before. I have hope though, that when all this is over, I'll be able to get back off the extra pregnancy weight I had to gain in order to keep the baby and myself safe and healthy. I've crept up to around 196lbs in the past weeks and I'm struggling to maintain there for a little while. My goal is to stay at 196lbs and not gain any more weight until after 26 weeks. If I can manage that, I'll be right on target and within the weight ranges they want me to be. Still, it's hard. The past few weeks I've been plagued with more headache and more dizziness than before. In the past 2 days, in attempts to control my weight gain, I was eating less and dropping my calories down lower and then having blood sugar attacks where my blood sugar was dropping too low because I wasn't eating enough. One night I was too active during the day and then I forgot to eat most of the day. I had to eat something substantial every hour for about 5 hours straight or my blood sugar would start to crash again. The depression has taken away my appetite, which makes eating more of a challenge and often times I get busy doing other things throughout the day and forget completely.

    If we get our new house closed on sooner rather than later, that would be better. I seem to do better when I'm with my husband. I love staying with my parents, their wonderful. But I find myself constantly worrying over the health of the baby and feeling like something is wrong and feeling depressed when I'm away from my husband right now. Hopefully this tough part of separation won't last too long. I was able to get in to see my Dr. at the end of 18 weeks for a quick check up and get my anatomy ultra sound scheduled. As far as the Dr can tell, the baby is doing fine. His/her heart rate is good and my weight has been stable..despite me losing a little bit by not eating too much for a few days. My Dr was very concerned about that and made sure to impress upon me that not eating wasn't an option. Even with the depression, I haven't been not eating at all. I've been forcing myself to eat, but I'll admit that I hadn't been eating much. I'm excited to find out the sex of the baby in a couple of weeks and to see the baby again at the anatomy ultrasound.

  14. I know Christmas means bah humbug for some people, but I've always loved it. Now, with my weight down to normal, and shopping not so hard to do anymore, and a new job starting in a few days, and.... I could go on and on! God has blessed me, and I am looking for ways to bless others this Christmas. That is fun, and very humbling. I live in a mobile home park. No, it's not the best place to be, but I have a good landlord. He has put up with my pickyness for almost 7 years and does not want me to move, even though I have been making noises about doing so. Could it be because I pay my rent and take care of the place? Probably.

    So last Christmas, I made dozens of cookies and candies (ate a few, but not much - sugar feels like codeine in my system and I hate that feeling), put them in plastic bags, and on Christmas morning, stuck a sign out in front of my trailer, inviting everyone to come in and be blessed. I handed out cookies and bookmarks from our church bookstore throughout the day. That was a hit all the way around. This year, I want to do something similar, but not exactly the same. Maybe cookies and candy again? Maybe some little toys for the children?

    What do you all do to give back at Christmas time? Do you have some ideas I could borrow?

    Thanks, and have a blessed Christmas!

    Leora

  15. When I was getting ready for my gastric bypass surgery, I read whatever I could about it.  Back then, blogs and online support groups were pretty new, and few and far between, so I read a few books on the topic.  Now, there are tons of online resources, but I still really like a "all info in one place" book.  Here is a list of 7 of the most popular and helpful out there!

    The Sleeved Life  by Pennie Nicola is about her journey getting the vertical sleeve gasterectomy.  The cool thing about this book is she combines her personal story with lots of the most recent research on this type of WLS.

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    The Big Book on the Gastric Bypass has everything about gastric bypass, from how to pick a surgeon, what to expect pre-op, how the surgery is performed, recovery, etc.  It has lots of info about afterwards as well, how much you can expect to lose, the diet, & exercising after.

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    Weight Loss Surgery:  The Real Skinny is a great one that talks about all the "bad" parts of WLS.  It goes over the mental aspects, how to change your relationship with food, and how to handle when you don't get the results you were hoping for.

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    The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients (3rd addition) has stories from patients that have had all different bariatric surgeries.  Patients interviewed are long term success stories, from 5, 10, 15 years ago, some from 30 years ago!

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    Back On Track After Weight Loss Surgery is great for any of us struggling with weight regain, with slipping into bad eating habits, not making time to work out, etc.
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    Weight Loss Surgery for DummiesWeight Loss Surgery for Dummies I absolutely love the "Dummies" books so of course this one had to make the list!  As all the other "Dummies" books, this one is written in clear, easy to understand language, tons of tips and tricks, and fun to read.

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    Al Roker:  Never Goin' Back I had to include Al Roker from NBC on this list.  He is such an inspiration, and this open and honest story of his life, his struggles as a child with his weight, and what finally led him to getting bariatric surgery, is a must read

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    Most of these are available hardcopy or on your kindle, which is personally my favorite way to read :)

  16. It's been 1 year since surgery. I WAS down 70 lbs until surgery on ovarian tumor back in Oct. After surgery I didn't listen and got on the scale after a week post op and had gained 13 lbs. I WAS SHOCKED! I called the Dr and he said it was due to all the fluids and gas they pumped me with. It took longer for me to heal that I thought it would. It took about 3 weeks at least. I eventually lost the 13 and got back to where I was. Which then put me right into the Holidays..... NEED I SAY MORE. I caved! I starting eating more and not focussing on the healthier foods. I let mashed potatoes, breads, rice, sweets creep back into my life. I SUCK!

    By January first I had gained 5 lbs. I was told by many that 5 lbs isn't nothing thru the holidays...but it was to me. I knew I wouldn't make MY GOAL of reaching 90 lb loss from surgery in a yr. (My year was Feb 7th) I am currently at a loss of 65 lbs. due to that darn gain. UGHH!

    I feel hungrier than I have in a long time...not sure why. I am ready to get refocussed on my losing and getting healthier each day.

    I tell myself all the time----- PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN!!! That's what my Dr tells me. I try picking things that I have lots of protein but still allow me to eat whenever I feel the urge. Like I said I feel hungry and do not believe it is head hunger. I usually tend to grab a cheese stick, greek yogurt, or sometimes fruit....strawberries or lil' cutie because they are lower in calories. I will on occasion grab a protein shake but---even though loaded with protein they use up so much of my calories for the day. So, in that since, I tend to not grab those as often. I LOVE my protein shakes!! But once you've added the two scoops of powder and skim milk it's like 300 calories. Then I go into panic mode ...thinking "dang, I ONLY have 1,000 left for the entire day)

    I will totally admit, I stopped my walking program....was doing great until surgery in Oct., then wasn't aloud to exercise for 6 weeks due to healing. Then Holidays got busy and rain and cold. Excuses excuses!!!! :( Know matter what it was, I wasn't walking!!! I know that was a big part of my success and need to start back up with it again. JUST DO IT, MELISSA!!!!

    As for the eating....why am I craving carbs and sweets again?

  17. Well, I hit my goal and then some over the past two years!!!! My lowest weight was 119. People told me I looked sickly. I loved my weight. My surgery was two years ago now. Wow, where did the time go. Also I haven't posted on here in almost two years. I thought I had this. I thought I was in control.

    But sadly I have come to find that the weight goes back on just as fast as it came off damn it. All that work at the gym. All the pain of surgery. Just to find out that the weight can come back on just with the blink of an eye, or the taste of an oreo.

    I have gained almost 50lbs back!!!!! I am 168 today when I weighed myself. I wanted to cry. I am definitely heading in the wrong direction and I think I may have broken my pouch. I have drank soda and over eaten and drank while eating. Did I ruin my pouch? Has anyone else done this? Please tell me I can turn this ship around again.

    If I have learned anything in the past two years about myself and this weight battle is that it will be a day to day battle for the rest of my life. The surgery gave me an opportunity to get my weight off with some hard work, but now it is up to me to keep it off. And eating unhealthy foods will put me right back where I started from.

    The problem is we all know this. But there is some emotional pull that draws me back to the cookies and to eat like there is no tomorrow. I would love to know if anyone else on here has had this battle, where they have gained weight, gotten out of control, but turned it around and their pouch still worked? Please help me with some advise on how to win this battle once and for all.

  18. Ana_Noos
    Latest Entry

    So I've been plodding along no too badly.

    Feel much better since have got more fresh fruit and veg and more water into my diet the last couple of days. The cramping in my calves has eased up and I'm wondering if this is why?

    Getting back to normal swimming wise, feel like I'm back to my normal stamina.

    My clothes are looking too big now, getting really baggy. Even a top that fitted me nicely 10 days ago now looks too big. Trouble is I haven't got any money ti next week to get anything, it's my daughters birthday this week So baggy will have to do for now lol.

    Had s day or so of sickness, more the feeling of nausea that got me than actually being sick but, it has passed. I'm thinking it's something I ate. I'e figured if what I eat it too dry regardless of what it is weetabix, crackers, chicken, mash etc it feels like it gets stuck and that's when the sicky feeling comes. So I make sure everything has some form of sauce with it and have started steaming my chicken to keep it moist.

    Smoked salmon is another food to add to the list that I can't tolerate at the moment. Shame cause I love it lol.

    I still haven't been brave enough to try pasta or rice. I had rice in rice pudding (low fat of course) on the end of the blended stage and 1/2 of the yoghurt pot size bloated me right out. So I'm avoiding at the moment.

    I'm trying to keep my carbs low and protein and veg/fruit up. I've been having dinners that have no or very little carbs so it's not too heavy at night. Keeping the carbs mainly for breakfast and/or lunch.

    I am so happy I can eat salad! Lol sounds crazy but, I do crave it every now and then.

    Exercise was very good today! 2 and half hours walking round a very big bootsale. Home to do some housework then hour and half walking around a toy superstore! I'm going to try to get into a routine of walking the dog this week - I've got a hectic schedule ahead so we will see!

    Hope everyone has had a good weekend!

  19. It's been about six weeks since I finished up a weight loss challenge with my local running store, during which I got off my holiday stall. I'm happy that I kept up the weight loss, losing the last 11 pounds to get me under my mini goal of 200. Onederland! Woo! This is the first time I've been under 200 since high school.

    I celebrated last night by walking over 2 miles with my dog. I've been slowly ramping up the walks now that our weather is finally warming up. 2 miles barely had me breaking a sweat, so looks like I'm good for longer walks again!

  20. Just checking in, this weight loss process is just that, a PROCESS. The surgery is NOT the goal, the liquid diet never really goes away and exercise is somewhat essential.

    Here is what I have learned:

    1) I can't catch a break, I must count, measure, and select correct foods ALWAYS.

    2) Exercise would help things go quicker, but I still have not been able to embrace the gym, I do like to ride bikes.

    3) Red meat is very difficult to digest, it actually causes a strange sensation and takes about an hour to go away

    4) Macaroni is out of the question, oh how i miss Mac and Cheese. Cheese is pretty much off the menu too

    5) Most fast food places are just not worth the trouble, strangley enough, French Fries are the easiest to eat, but who wants those calories?

    6) Menapause is a #*%$#, my skin is dry and it interferes with weight loss, I have to work harder, Morel of the story, do it while you are YOUNG

    7) Becaues of Menapause, the skin is not going back, the more I lose, the worse the melting candle looks. Again, do it while you are YOUNG

    8) I am not longer diabetic, but I still have to select correct foods

    9) I fell off the weight loss wagon more than once and got a lecture from my doctor GET IN A SUPPORT SYSTEM. So I joined weight watchers and finally settled down to the reality of the situation.

    10) I am now faced with cosmetic surgery.

    Regrets: getting the EVIL band in the beginning, it was a useless idiotic choice and only delayed things. I had revision to a SLEEVe and yet I wonder if I would have done better with BYPASS. We ALL have that discuss in the back of our minds, what if?? So play the cards you have. Eat LESS and get busy focusing on other things to do. The WORLD of Karen no longer revolves around FOOD.

    Now i am planning for plastic surgery, tummy tuck and breast lift. It is very big surgery. My top weight was 240ish, and now I am 161 and those 80 pounds did a number on my body. I realize people here have lost way more and look fabulous, but I don't. So I am going to do something about it.

    I still have other goals, desires and wishes. I still wish on stars believe that things just may all WORK OUT in the end. thanks for reading, Karen

  21. Posting for Sunday

    tried the new dragon crossfit that my girlfriend attends - MAN they sure know there stuff!

    Tabattas

    push ups

    ring rows

    p bar dips and

    thrusters

    8 rounds of as many as you can in 30 seconds.

    Learned the right way to do these exercises and I am still sore today!!! WOW LOVE IT

  22. Long time, no post.

    Truthfully, it was a lot easier to blog/post regularly when my weight loss was so significant. It has tapered off in a BIG way since I got below 205 (as I write this I'm about 196). I have continued with my running but have gotten into some bad eating habits that I know are holding me back (empty calories, beer, etc.). I'm happy as can be to be below 200 but I'm..not..done..losing..yet!

    My original weight target was 170 but after seeing myself at <200 I revised that upward to 180 as I just don't think 170 would be very healthy for me unless I were trying to be a <5% body fat running psycho (probably not going to happen). 180 seems to be reachable and I know it will make my cardio work easier to be down those last 16 pounds so that's the plan for now - until it changes!

    Speaking of running....it's now 2012 and cold as an ex's shoulder out there. That being the case I planned ahead and asked my loved ones to consider helping me pay for a gym membership for my Christmas present. Today, I signed up for a membership through my work's fitness plan (reduced monthly dues) and now have a two year membership to my local O2 fitness center. I needed to do this even if it weren't getting cold as my upper body has shrunken so much from the weight loss that I look too weak. I know I still have some belly fat but my arms are tiny and I need some tone on my chest, back, and arms. Running has done good things for my legs at least.

    So, here's my tentative plan for 2012. I don't do resolutions as they are like commandments - once you break them they are useless. Plans are better because if something in your life changes, you simply adjust your plans. That's more realistic and still gives me a chance to put some goals in place. 2011 was the year I got my weight under control - 2012 is the year I work on getting my overall fitness to a good place. The two things are not the same as you all know. So anyway, here's my plan so far:

    • Get to my target weight (180)
    • Run at least 3 10k races during the year
    • Be able to do pull-ups (I have never been able to even as a kid)
    • Average at least 15 miles jogging per week
    • Be able to perform at least two sets of 50 situps in a workout
    • Be able to perform at least three sets of 25 pushups in a workout
    • Take the family camping for vacation with minimal equipment - rough it as much as possible
    • Take the family out biking frequently
    • Take the family to the pool frequently (now I can go shirtless without complete embarrassment!)
    • Play softball

    Here's wishing all of you a happy, healthy 2012.

  23. A bang, a bang that almost ended in a bruise. I hopped off my scale and stared in complete disbelief. I hopped back on and rechecked. Then I almost screamed. I had been battling to try and get the last few pounds down and finally hit a total of 100lbs lost. And there before my eyes was a number that wasn’t just my mini goal but a few pounds down even. Not only that but it puts me within a few pounds reach of my next little goal. Something is just so utterly mind blowing about knowing that you have lost 100lbs, heck I remember weighing not much more than that. I am taking that as a sign, a sign to let go of a past version of myself, a boost to keep going and building this new healthy me. I am far from my goal still, I am only about half way to where I want to be at the end of this journey, but that is only on a scale. They are only numbers. I am more than half way to enjoying living again. I don’t hesitate to say yes. I have stopped worrying about what other people think when I am out, who cares, they don’t know me, I know me, and I have worked my tush off to get here and I feel damn good about myself. I worried that when I hit this point I would just settle, accept my small victory and be ready to lie down. Instead I feel like it is my second wind, like it breathed a new life into me. I want this more than ever. Because finally this is real. This is not some illusion of weight falling off. This is my own hard work, I don’t feel this surgery was a short cut, it was a helping hand, and it was a support system. I have earned every single pound lost so far, and will continue to earn every single pound I AM going to lose until I hit goal. I am proud of my scars; they are badges of courage, symbols of strength. This blog took me a few days to write. It isn’t that it is long, or that entire complex. It is that it took me a couple days to really accept that I did it, that the scale wasn’t going to decide to turn on me and then to process all the emotions that came. I haven’t written here about the immense pride, because that is all that remains. But I feel like I would be amiss if I left out the other side. When I look back at this I want to know I was honest with myself. When I first began to absorb what I have done, I had to deal with the negative emotions as well. I was scared of the number still in front of me, of what it meant. I couldn’t believe I lost 100lbs, and I was still fat. That I had lost 100lbs and I still had that much if not more to go. It was an old habit, I had achieved amazing things and there I was beating myself up for every little thing, not willing to accept the good. Somewhere in between the tears I had reached for the fridge. It was my ah-ha moment. Part of this battle is the in the head, it is finding out why we kept making the bad choices that led to our weight gain. I finally understood, I was tearing myself down, and then proving to myself I did deserve it by rewarding myself with food. Now I could see what I was doing, I could stop it, instead I rewarded myself with time. Time spent on me, an hour long shower with the music blasting, and all my girly masks and scrubs, and the getting to feel brand new. I have since read a great quote “Do not reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.” I am not cured overnight. It is going to take work to undo old habits, to build new ones. But I feel like I have a good first step. I have a 100lb first step to put behind me.

  24. ChargersPrincess17
    Latest Entry

    It's been while since I have been around but as next month it will have been two years since my surgery I was thinking that I would try and start coming around more. I am still doing really well but it never hurts to come here and get some motivation to stick with things. I have always liked looking at other peoples success stories as it helps keep my motivated and on track :)